OK, that needs some context.
When we look at nature, evolution happens in response to change.
In Florida, green lizards were threatened when their competition, brown lizards, started to invade the lower branches they call home. Within 15-20 generations, they grew larger toe-pads and scales that were sticker to cling to thinner, higher branches. By Mother Nature’s standards, that’s some quick problem solving.
So are you a green lizard?
When a brown lizard shows up in your business, you will need to evolve a whole lot faster than 15-20 generations!
Adapt or die
Just like in the natural world, in the business world, those who survive are those who can adapt to new conditions most efficiently. Being able to adapt requires two things.
Recognize the threat
If you never see the threat coming, you’re toast. Don’t be like the gazelle in those nature shows who strolls up to the pond for a drink only to become lunch for a hungry crocodile that they never saw coming.
Always be scanning for threats to your business.
And remember a “threat” isn’t necessarily a competitor. It’s also changing habits or preferences among your customers. Or new technologies that change how people do things. (Blockbuster, anyone?)
Make it a regular practice to identify changes in your environment and think about how you might need to change to react to them.
Of course, thinking about change isn’t enough. You actually have to do something.
Fast or slow?
When it comes time to do something, you basically have two choices:
- Meticulously plan out every step in advance and do not deviate from the plan
- Come up with an idea. Try it. See what happens. Adjust.
The first option is basically how giant corporations used to (still do to some degree) do things. It would start with the “The Plan.” The Plan was painstakingly developed over months or years. Then it was agonized over - reviewed and approved by what seemed like 100 layers of management. Then, maybe, it was implemented.
With any luck, 3 to 5 years later, they introduced something to the market. Would it work? Who knows? If not, back to the beginning.
If you’re thinking “That’s not a good way to stay in business.” - you’re right. That only works when your pockets are so deep you can survive for years without making any money. And that’s probably not you.
What you can learn from software developers
There’s another method of adapting that got its start in the tech world, but has spread throughout the business world. It’s called Agile development.
The Agile system is based on iterating to a final solution. The emphasis here is on doing, not planning. It basically goes like this:
- Get Feedback
In this method, you focus on coming up with an idea, trying it, seeing what happens, and adjusting based on results.
Where the old way was all about “The Plan,” Agile is all about taking action. Using the old way, failure is to be avoided at all costs. In Agile, there is no failure, only results.
The secret sauce to this method is that you and your team must be on the same page. Because the change and implementation happens quickly, you will need to be communicating constantly and ready to adjust the moment you get negative feedback from your customer base.
There is no wasted effort if something doesn’t pan out, since you’re always using the feedback to build upon what you’ve done.
But, if your team isn’t all on board with the same level of dedication or attention, things can fall through the cracks. And with speed, documentation is often less complete. So you might miss the exact tweak to the recipe that got you the best results.
However, the system is much more flexible and realistic for working in today’s market, where things are changing more rapidly than ever!
Are you ready to be a green lizard?
Your business should be adaptable when faced with any problem. And the good news is no matter where you are, we are available to help your business evolve to the next level.
If you are having trouble knowing exactly where your business should be going or what you need to make your journey successful, we can help!
Book a free 1-hour Breakthrough Consultation with us.